I believe our generation of parents has a great responsibility in the digital age. Not just because we want to be the best parents we can be and we’re struggling with what that means with technology involved, but because we are the generation that bridges the memory of life before technology as transition to a life that is full of technology.
The task is an onerous one. If we do a good job, the world will be their oyster. Opportunities which never existed may present themselves. If we choose to ignore technology, and tell our kids they can’t go on social networks or use technology for play or for work, and if we don’t make time to take an active interest in what our kids are actually doing online, the ramifications can be disastrous.
And that’s just the beginning of the challenge we’re presented with. Information overload. Rapid change. Safety and privacy concerns. The fact that we are preparing them for jobs that don’t exist yet. Not to mention the giant digital footprints they are creating.
Lately I’ve been on a quest of mobilising an army of technophobic parents, carers, grandparents, teachers and other influencers of children because the short of it is, the kids need us.
So what are the key questions you, as a parent who cares, needs to ask your children, and what do you need to have in place to minimise the chances of your children having an issue with cyber-safety, cyber-bullying and general online use?
In my live workshops and presentations, I go through the process of helping groups design a Family Technology Charter – a written agreement between family members, regarding issues such as technology ownership, use, control and employment: a document and process I am not aware of anyone else in the world offering.
Going through the process of developing a Family Technology Charter is powerful because it gives everyone a say in the matter, whatever their age and ability with technology, and can facilitate some healthy discussions about technology and its use by all family members. It can also minimise family conflicts by clearly laying out the ‘rules of the road’ before problems arise, and it, therefore, acts as a handy reference point when dramas do happen!
In essence, the Family Technology Charter articulates the values of your family in regards to technology and sets a framework for making some important decisions about technology. Every family is different, and so should your charter for technology be!
Go here to download a free and handy template family charter.